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Telling someone to not eat gluten, is like telling a dog to not eat a dog treat that is placed right in front of them. It’s merely impossible. Or so I thought. 

For the past four months, I have been managing a gluten-free diet after I was diagnosed with an intolerance to it. I have struggled with stomach issues for the past two years and never truly knew what caused it. Many people assumed dairy since it is the common culprit, but it wasn’t until numerous blood tests, MRI, CT Scans, and Ultrasounds later that my worst nightmare came true. I am Gluten Intolerant. 

As crushed as I was, I knew that eventually my stomach issues would resolve and I would not feel as worn down, nauseous and bloated as I constantly felt. But, it did come with a whole other obstacle; navigating through life, especially as a college student and not being able to eat what everyone else was eating.

When I first got diagnosed I was living at home over the summer so I had access to a fully functioning kitchen which made cooking gluten-free meals much easier. But since moving back into my college dorm, it has become more challenging. I was no longer at ease, knowing that what I put in my body wouldn’t cause my body to react negatively. Especially through cross-contamination. I no longer could confirm that what I was eating did not have traces of gluten in it, that I was not aware of. But through time and becoming educated on what triggers a response from my stomach, as well as adapting, I am now able to navigate being gluten-free much easier. 

To be completely transparent, what ultimately made the transition easier was accepting the fact I could no longer eat it and standing up for myself when talking about it. When it came to ordering food, I had to be open about my intolerance and make sure that what I was eating was safe. At least for me, I felt slightly embarrassed because I felt like it was an inconvenience to the waitress or waiter and the chef by having to make my accommodations, but so many people have repeatedly told me, “it’s my health that is on the line”.

To add on, I strongly believe that going to school up here in Burlington has made the transition so much better. Many restaurants downtown or surrounding areas have so many gluten-free options.  The wait staff is very educated with the menus and will tell you exactly what to take out or substitute an ingredient with. 

For people who are recently diagnosed with celiac disease, which is when the body attacks the small intestine when gluten is consumed into the body, intolerant or a gluten sensitivity, just know you are not alone and there are so many foods that you can consume that you wouldn’t think to have.

Rather than taking one day at a time, take one meal or snack at a time. See how you do and move from there. You got this!

With love, 

Sierra 

Edited by Rose Kaufmann

Hi! I'm Sierra Byrne and I am a freshman studying Health Sciences to pursue a career as a Physician Assistant. I have always had a passion for journalism and blog writing as a side hobby!
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